Recipe—Piña Colada Pie with Drunken Rum Sauce

Looking for that perfect summer dessert that takes you away to a tropical island? Then look no further! My piña colada pie is a little slice of paradise. This crust less pie could not be easier to make. You literally combine all the ingredients and put it in the oven to bake. It is a creamy custard based pie which is great all on it’s own but add in the drunken rum sauce and ooo-weeee! That’s good stuff, like a party in your mouth! I like to top mine with some homemade whip cream and crushed macadamia nuts to dress it up a bit. I made this for some friends the other night and they said it was like nothing they had ever had before (I am pretty sure it was a compliment). It is a one of a kind dessert that will make your mouth happy.

PIE INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1/2 c sugar
6 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 c flour
2 c shredded coconut
8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained

DRUNKEN RUM SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1 c butter
1 c Myers dark rum
1 c brown sugar

GARNISHES
whipped cream
crushed macadamia nuts

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine cream, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and flour.
  • Mix using a hand mixer for about 2 minutes on medium speed.
  • Fold in coconut and pineapple until completely combined.
  • Pour your pie mixture into a greased pie dish.
  • Bake for 40–45 minutes.
  • Remove pie from oven and allow to cool.
  • While pie is cooling start the rum sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan.
  • Stir in brown sugar and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
  • Add in rum and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Turn heat to low and simmer for 2–3 minutes.
  • Pour sauce over a warm slice of pie and top with whipped cream and some macadamia nuts.
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Recipe—Ratatouille Lasagna

My last recipe post was for very fabulous ratatouille. Well if you are like me you probably had leftovers. The leftovers can be used for a whole plethora of things but my favorite has to be lasagna. I love the big hearty pieces of vegetables cooked together with Italian sausage and some rich cheeses. This ended up being the best lasagna I have ever had! You can make one large lasagna in a 9” x 13” baking dish or two small ones in 8” x 8” dishes. I opted to make 2 so that I could freeze one for another night. That means I get to enjoy this delish dish twice! Oh lucky me! Gotta love this French meal turned Italian.

Note: When I make lasagna I like to double up the noodles on the top and bottom layers. I feel like it helps hold it together better for ease of serving. This requires that you cook one and a half boxes of noodles since just one isn’t enough for this method. If you don’t want to double up then one box is completely adequate.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb Italian sausage
15 oz can tomato sauce
4 c leftover ratatouille
1 1/2 boxes wavy lasagna noodles
15 oz container ricotta cheese
1/4 c fresh basil chopped
salt and pepper
4 c mozzarella, shredded

STEPS

  • In a large skillet brown your sausage and drain off any excess grease.
  • Add tomato sauce and ratatouille to skillet and warm through over medium heat.
  • While the ratatouille is heating through cook your lasagna noodles according to the package instructions, drain, and separate.
  • In a small bowl combine the ricotta, basil, salt and pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Prepare a 9” x 13” baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
  • Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a layer of the cooked noodles and then place a second layer of the cooked noodles on top of that going the opposite direction.
  • Spoon in about 1/3 of your ratatouille sauce over your lasagna noodles and spread evenly.
  • Top sauce with half the ricotta mixture and sprinkle a handful of the mozzarella over the top of the ricotta.
  • Place a single layer of noodles over the ricotta and spoon in about 1/3 of your ratatouille sauce over your lasagna noodles and spread evenly.
  • Top sauce with half the ricotta mixture and sprinkle a handful of the mozzarella over the top of the ricotta.
  • Top the lasagna with cooked noodles and place a second layer of the cooked noodles on top of that going the opposite direction.
  • Spoon remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 25–30 minutes or until the top is bubbling and the cheese is golden brown.
  • Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe—Ratatouille

When most people hear the word ratatouille they think of a movie about a little rat named Remy who dreams about becoming a chef. Ratatouille is not just a very cute Pixar movie; it is also a delicious dish loaded with succulent Mediterranean vegetables that your family is sure to enjoy.

Ratatouille is a traditional French vegetable stew that originated in Nice. The full name is ratatouille niçoise. It is a flavorful, hearty, low calorie fare that can be served as an excellent main dish, to accompany a protein, or tossed with pasta. This recipe is a great way to utilize all those wonderful summer garden veggies that are in season. Aside from all the chopping this recipe is very easy to prepare.

I will state that this makes a pretty hearty amount so you will probably have leftovers unless you are serving a whole army. The leftovers are incredible, as the flavors seem to intensify with time. I made lasagna with my leftovers and I must say it is one of the best lasagnas I have ever had! The big chunky vegetables were awesome, especially when I paired them with Italian sausage and some ricotta. I will be sure to share that recipe with you next. Delish!

INGREDIENTS
1/4 c olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 yellow bell pepper, deseeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
15 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 c fresh basil, chopped

STEPS

  • In a large pot that has a lid, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  • Cook onions until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic and cook for about 1 min.
  • Add in eggplant and zucchini and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add 1/2 cup of water, cover, and simmer stirring once until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in bell peppers, cover, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Add in tomatoes and thyme and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and cover.
  • Stir occasionally until vegetables are cooked to desired consistency. Mine take about 12–15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, stir in basil, and serve immediately.

Recipe—Mandarin Beef Stir-Fry

It’s always great when you can find a healthy low fat dinner that has incredible flavor. This stir-fry is one of those dinners. Stir-fries are typically Asian dishes jam packed with veggies and sometimes meat. They are great because they cook fast, are usually really good for you, and can be a one dish main course saving on dirty dishes! When you cook stir-fries quickly over high heat the juice is seared inside the vegetables and meat retaining texture and flavor. The ginger in this recipe goes so nicely with the sweetness of the mandarins and the beef is tender and flavorful. Whip up this quick and delicious stir-fry for dinner tonight!

Note: The meat requires quite a bit of time to marinade so don’t forget to do the first few steps well ahead of time. If you like heat, add a dash of crushed red peppers. The spicy with the sweet from the oranges is a lovely combination. 

INGREDIENTS
1–1 1/2 lbs rump steak, thinly sliced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
salt and pepper
2 tbsp peanut oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, chopped
5 mandarin oranges/clementine’s
1/2 c beef stock
4 baby bok choy, sliced
1 c snow peas

STEPS

  • In a large bowl, stir together soy sauce, sherry, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper.
  • Add meat, cover, and allow to marinade for several hours.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil in a large non-stick wok and fry onions until softened and golden.
  • Remove onions from heat and set aside.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the wok, turn heat to high, and add beef.
  • Cook the beef over the high heat moving constantly until all sides are brown. The high heat will sear all the juices inside.
  • Lower the heat and return the onion to the pan.
  • Squeeze the juice from 2 mandarins into the pan.
  • Cook down for a few minutes until liquid is reduced.
  • Add the beef broth slowly while stirring.
  • Continue to cook until the liquid is reduced to almost nothing, about a tablespoon. Note that this will take awhile
  • Add the bok choy and segments from the 3 remaining mandarins.
  • Turn the heat down and toss gently until the vegetables are cooked to desired doneness.
  • Add the snow peas to the wok for the last minute.
  • Remove from heat and serve. 

Recipe—Kale Chips

I am someone who does all my menu planning and grocery shopping on the weekend so that I don’t have to worry about making any extra trips to the grocery store during the week. Being the working mom of a toddler keeps me busy enough Monday–Friday. I receive my produce delivery early in the week and one of my recent deliveries had an unexpected bunch of kale that didn’t really fit with anything I had planned on the dinner menu. I decided to use it for a healthy after school snack for my munchkin.

I have seen kale chips popping up all over the place so thought I would give them a try. While they may not look ultra appealing, they are delicious! My son and I gobbled them up. They are so addicting! Even my son kept coming in to the kitchen asking for more chips. While they totally taste best fresh out of the oven, they were still good the next day. They just loose some of that fresh crispiness over time. These are a perfect snack for those people watching their carbs or calories and they really were quick and easy to make. Perfect for snacking!

INGREDIENTS
1 bunch kale
olive oil
kosher or sea salt

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Tear the kale leaves into bite sized pieces stripping out the inner stalks.
  • Wash well in water and dry as much as you can. (I used my salad spinner and it worked great!)
  • Evenly distribute the leaf pieces on a large cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Toss to coat.
  • Sprinkle with salt.
  • Place in oven and bake for 10–15 minutes or until the kale is crisp.
  • Best enjoyed while warm and fresh!

Recipe—Classic Chicken Salad

Trying to figure out what to make for your next luncheon or picnic? Search no further! This classic chicken salad recipe is perfect for these warm summer months. During the summer I like cool refreshing sandwiches and chicken salad is always at the top of the list. This recipe is simple, delicious, and a classic. It is perfect in sandwiches or served in a tomato over a bed of lettuce. Heck, I’ve even just gone at it with a fork, I won’t lie. I will say this is better than anything you will find at the deli counter and it is so easy to make. The inclusion of lemon juice and parsley gives this chicken salad a certain freshness that others don’t have.  This is one of those recipes that just gets better over time. I ate this three days after I had made it and it was amazing how much the flavors all intensified. It’s good stuff, Maynard!

Note: This calls for boiled chicken breasts but I have also made it with leftover grilled chicken and it gave the salad a really nice flavor and texture.

INGREDIENTS
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 c mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard
2 tsp lemon juice
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp salt
pepper

STEPS

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add chicken breasts.
  • Boil chicken for 20–25 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from pot and place on a large cutting board to cool.
  • Dice chicken into small pieces.
  • In a large bowl combine chicken and celery.
  • To make your dressing mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, green onion, parsley, salt and pepper.
  • Pour the dressing over the chicken and celery and stir to coat.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe—Kohlrabi Dill Coleslaw

A couple of weeks ago in my produce box I got a green turnip like item that had leafy greens coming out of the top and sides. I thought what on earth is this funny looking vegetable. Turns out it was kohlrabi and that I love it!

Kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family and it looks like a light green turnip. It is crisp like an apple and has a bit of a bite to it like a radish but a mild sweetness to it similar to a coconut. I would like to say kohlrabi is delicious and I am hooked on it! I am forever a fan of this fabulous vegetable. It makes the greatest coleslaw ever!

My husband is not a huge fan of coleslaw or dill and when he ate this, the exact words out of his mouth were, “Oh my god babe, this is so good.” We both went back for seconds.This is not overly sweet like many typical types of coleslaw so it was the perfect low-carb complement to the sweet bbq sauce I used on my ribs. It was nice and crunchy and the bit of dill gave it a wonderful freshness. Kohlrabi dill coleslaw will be a regular summer side dish in our house from here on out!

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp very finely chopped onions
1/3 c sour cream
1/3 c mayonnaise
1/2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
2 kohlrabi, peeled and grated
2 carrots, peeled and grated

STEPS

  • In a large bowl whisk together onions, sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, dill, parsley, salt and pepper.
  • Mix in shredded kohlrabi and carrots.

Recipe—Crock-Pot Shredded Beef Tacos

How about some delicious tacos to go with the Mexican red rice recipe I recently posted? These are the easiest most flavorful shredded beef tacos ever! And best of all you cook them in the crock-pot. I love my crock-pot! What’s not to love about coming home from work to a house that smells like an authentic taqueria where dinner is practically done when you walk through the door? This recipe gives you the most tender, moist, flavor packed meat. The meat literally falls apart when it’s done cooking. These tacos are definitely at the top of my list of favorite meals. I love loading them up with all my favorite toppings. Serving these with a lime wedge to squeeze over your tacos is a must! The bite of tangy lime just makes all the flavors come together. Serve these tacos with my Mexican red rice and a side of beans and you will feel like you are dining in Mexico. Don’t forget the pitcher of margaritas! 😉

Note: No need to limit yourself to just using this shredded beef for tacos, it is incredibly versatile and can be used for enchiladas, tacos, burritos, you name it!

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2–3 lb tri tip or chuck roast
14 oz can beef broth
2 limes (1 for juicing and 1 sliced to be served with finished tacos)
tortillas

SOME FABULOUS GARNISHES

shredded cheese
chopped green lettuce
diced tomatoes
diced red onion
guacamole or sliced avocado
sour cream
pico de gallo
chopped cilantro

STEPS

  • In a small bowl combine chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Spray your crock-pot with cooking spray to make cleanup a breeze!
  • Add your roast to the crock-pot and rub the seasoning into the meat. It’s okay if any extra seasoning is loose in the crock-pot.
  • Pour broth around roast and squeeze the juice of one lime over the roast.
  • Cover and cook on low heat for 8–10 hours.
  • Remove the roast from the crock-pot and place on a cutting board.
  • Using a large fork shred the beef and return it to the crock-pot.
  • Cover and continue to cook on low heat for 30 minutes. This allows your beef to soak up all those yummy juices.
  • Using tongs remove the shredded beef and place directly on tortillas or into a serving dish.
  • Serve with lime wedges and some of your favorite garnishes.